Mining sector boasts of the highest employment elasticity after construction (1.13 per cent) and real estate (0.66 per cent). With an employment elasticity of 0.52 per cent, mining has the potential to create 13 times the jobs created by agriculture and six times over manufacturing for every one per cent growth in GDP.
Another appalling trend is the escalating imports of minerals since 2014-15. At the end of 2017-18, imports of minerals and metals excluding coal and gold were valued at Rs 4.91 trillion, four times over the domestic production worth Rs 1.12 trillion.
India is a net importer of an array of minerals - copper ores and concentrates, platinum alloys, nickel ores, diamond, gold, tungsten ores & concentrates, asbestos, flourspar, cadmium, silver, molybdenum, rutile, coal, graphite and others. The country has 100 per cent import dependence on copper ores and concentrates, platinum alloys, nickel ores, diamond, gold and tungsten ores & concentrates.
Despite being endowed with a repository of minerals, India has not been able to tap the potential wealth. India ranks among the least explored countries compared to other leading resource rich nations and mining jurisdictions. Only 10 per cent of the country's Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) has been explored of which a measly 1.5 per cent is mined.
In terms of exploration spending too, India occupies the lowest rungs in the pecking order dominated by Chile, Australia, Canada, United States, China and Brazil. Data by Fimi
shows that in FY16, FY17 and FY18, India incurred Rs 13 crore, Rs 15 crore and Rs 17 crore respectively on mineral exploration.